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Grip on Sports: The Mariners needed to rally – and they did

Seattle Mariners' Mitch Haniger doubles in a run against the Detroit Tigers during the seventh inning of a baseball game Friday, May 18, 2018, in Seattle. (Elaine Thompson / AP)
Seattle Mariners' Mitch Haniger doubles in a run against the Detroit Tigers during the seventh inning of a baseball game Friday, May 18, 2018, in Seattle. (Elaine Thompson / AP)

A GRIP ON SPORTS • You could sort of feel the Mariners’ season slipping away last night. Down by four runs early, with Felix Hernandez’s evening done, Robinson Cano in never-never land, the M’s seemed ready to roll over and go to sleep. Then they woke up. Read on.

••••••••••

• There may not be a more impactful win all season. A five-run seventh inning, helped by a bout of wildness from the Tigers’ pitchers, rallied Seattle to a 5-4 win and allowed the M’s and their fans to back away from the precipice.

Yes, that’s where the past week has led.

Cano get hurts, then hurts the franchise with a suspension. Hernandez has been up and down, with an emphasis on the latter. The bullpen has struggled to get to closer Edwin Diaz.

Meanwhile, the Astros have begun to kick it into gear and build some separation in the American League West.

It was time to chew the nails to the nubs. But a 3-2 slider to Nelson Cruz that missed the strike zone – why the Tigers threw that pitch instead of challenging Cruz with a fastball I’ll never know – started an unlikely seventh-inning rally. When Jean Segura finished it with a two-run single, the Mariners had wrenched away much-needed hope.

Luckily, Juan Nicasio, who has been struggling lately, was really good in the eighth inning and Diaz was Diaz in the ninth. The M’s won 5-4 and the outlook is a bit brighter.

The alternative? Go meekly into the night, drop to 1-3 since Cano’s 80-game suspension was announced and prepare for another summer of discontent.

It didn’t happen. Mudville was able to experience some joy. And the season rolls on.

•••

WSU: The baseball team struggled and lost 10-1 at Stanford. … Around the Pac-12, more and more folks are speaking about the struggles of the Pac-12 Networks and how they affect individual schools. … Washington is looking for a new track and cross country coach. … Oregon’s defensive depth chart should look a bit different next season. … USC’s defense will have a big hole. … Arizona State is trying to fill a hole with a converted running back.

Gonzaga: The baseball team clinched a spot in the WCC postseason tournament with a 5-3 home win over Santa Clara. Steve Christilaw has the story. … Next season’s basketball schedule just got a bit tougher. The Zags will play Tennessee in a four-team Phoenix tournament. Jim Meehan has more in this story.

Preps: As the state playoffs wear on, we can offer roundups from baseball, softball and track and field.

Hoopfest: Larry Weir and sports editor Ralph Walter spoke with Hoopfest executive director Matt Santangelo yesterday for the latest Press Box pod.

Mariners: Hernandez not only pitched last night, he also talked about Cano’s suspension. … Ben Gamel had a big part in the 5-4 comeback win. … So did Cruz, who returned from an injury.

Seahawks: The Hawks’ first fullback has died.

•••       

• It’s been raining and raining and raining in Baltimore, meaning today’s Preakness will be run on a track more suited for salmon than horses. Oh well. Let’s see if Justify can run away from everyone again. Until later …

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